When it comes to racing games, Initial D is one of those names almost every fan of the genre has heard of, yet comparatively few have had the opportunity to play it. Despite widespread support in UK arcades, access to the newer versions of the arcade game became ever more limited. Add to that the home conversions have never left Japan and you end up with a unique situation of a title with considerable western appeal that has been almost totally ignored by Sega Europe. Alas there is no sign of that changing, however, I still keep my eye on various developments and next week sees the release of Initial D The Arcade.
Initial D The Arcade is essentially the replacement for Initial D Arcade Stage Zero and introduces 4-player races for the first time in the series. Overtaking is always near impossible so more options may be likely for tandem drifting besides the standard racing content. If you haven’t played an Initial D game, the signature of the series is the various story mode elements, from cut scenes to drivers playing out the story during the race. All supported with awesome Eurobeat ‘feel good’ music that is both motivational and fun. The earlier variants of the series also included a memory card slot, novel for the time, yet a fun element, I’ve included a selection of my old arcade memory cards below.
Onto the trailer, as ever it looks like great fun. The trailer is highly polished and nicely edited. There is an unusual point of a blue car (possibly an MR2) jumping over a Mitsubishi Evo. Itr looked odd and a rather unusual inclusion for a trailer. Graphics are improved, nice now light effects, reflections, and textures on cars, all looking the business. A full unveiling can be seen on the Sega Livestream Here on the 19th February.
I can’t say I’ve ever been a massive fan of the series, the floaty physics combined with the on-rails pre-determined lines have never worked for me as a racing fan. However, I have enjoyed the overall approach, the music, the vibe all comes together in making the perfect anime experience and great to enjoy with friends. It is this ‘vibe’ that really created a niche following and despite the rather unusual handling, it is always fun watching an expert winding their way down the mountain.
Initial D The Arcade will release in Japan on February 25, 2021.